BillFloat CEO Testifies 'Too Scared to Lend' a Growing Problem in Consumer Lending

Ryan Gilbert calls for consensus and collaboration between consumer-centric financial services innovators

Sep 22, 2011, 11:00 ET from BillFloat, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial services entrepreneurs are leading the charge to service the growing number of the unbanked and under-banked in America. This was the sentiment delivered in Congressional testimony today by Ryan Gilbert, CEO of BillFloat, Inc.  Gilbert was invited to testify at the hearing on the availability of credit for consumers by House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Chairwoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

"The 'too big to fail' banks are today, simply put, 'too scared to lend' to worthy consumers, due to the higher costs associated with serving non-prime consumers," Gilbert told the members of the subcommittee. "There is hope, however. BillFloat represents a new breed of financial services provider. We never exploit our customers or take them for granted. And our products offer under-served, yet financially responsible, middle-income consumers reasonable fees, transparent terms, and the professional support of personnel that are compassionate and straightforward in their dealings with them."

Since 2009, BillFloat, a provider of consumer credit-for-bill payment solutions, has been helping thousands of consumers across the country avoid late fees, overdraft charges, service termination and high cost payday loans. The continued economic downturn, combined with banks contracting the amount of available credit, makes the need for services like BillFloat greater than ever.

During his testimony, Gilbert called for financial services innovators to work with Congress and regulators to pass "innovation enabling" legislation that would allow financial services innovators to launch new products without the need to rely on banks and their infrastructure. Initially, the coalition would focus on encouraging Congress to pass the Federal Financial Services and Credit Companies (FFSCC) Charter Act of 2011, introduced by Representative Joe Baca (D-Calif.).  

"This group of companies epitomizes 'can do' American ingenuity at its finest," said Gilbert.  "We are not asking for any federal funding, loan guarantees, or any other handouts. What we would like is a much needed and welcome platform on which financial services innovators will be encouraged to flourish and serve the underserved. Congressman Baca's bill will do just that."

Gilbert noted that the same banks that are not serving under-served consumers are not supporting technology and financial services innovators either. Of the thousands of banks in the United States, fewer than ten have made an active and concerted effort to support start-up financial service innovation efforts, and of those ten  none are household names that consumers rely on every day.

"We hope to help create a more progressive regulatory environment that encourages new thinking for new products," said Rob Frohwein, CEO of Kabbage, and provider of credit to online small businesses. "At the end of the day, we all want to help the economy by enabling consumers and businesses gain access to needed resources."

About BillFloat, Inc.

BillFloat was founded in 2009 by a team of experienced financial services entrepreneurs with investment and technology backing from First Round Capital (, PayPal (, and Venrock ( and angel investors. Consumers use BillFloat to pay bills and avoid late fees, overdraft charges, service termination, and high cost payday loans. Billers including utility providers, cable companies, and insurers accelerate their cash flow through BillFloat's easy to implement and secure system. The service is available on billers' websites and through financial services partners including prepaid and debit card issuers, payroll services, walk-in payment centers, and BillFloat is based in San Francisco, California.

SOURCE BillFloat, Inc.